[Note: Somehow this volume wound up in my basement, along with a lot of other stuff from my mother, Elsie Elizabeth (Betts) Lamplugh, that I had accumulated over many years. I must have brought it upstairs when I retrieved documents I used in the “Betts” series of posts. For some reason, I didn’t pay much attention to this book, merely stashing it on a study bookshelf—until recently, when I took the volume down and read through it. I’m glad I did, because, although Betts did not finish filling in all the stuff that was to make up this grandmotherly “heirloom” to our boys, what she did complete provided at least some information my siblings and I hadn’t known. I’m posting these excerpts from Grandmother Remembers, along with a few links and photos, another chapter in the saga of “Betts: A Mother’s Memoir, 1923-1964).”]
My Grandparents [See Part II]
My Mother’s Family:
Grandfather’s name: George Thomas Dobson.
Grandmother’s name: Reba Murray.
Settled in: Newark, Delaware.
Grandfather earned his living: Working at Curtis Paper Company in Newark as far as I can remember.
My mother was born: May 15, 1904.
My Father’s Family:
Grandfather’s name: William Henry Knighton.
Grandmother’s name: Jemima Lydia Gallagher.
Grandparents settled in: Philadelphia, Pa.
My father was born: February 22, 1898.
Father’s name: Isaac Livezy Knighton.
Mother’s name: Gertrude Isabelle Dobson.
My parents met:
How: At the home of Mr. & Mrs. William Dean (Mrs. Dean was Dad’s cousin).
When: Sept. 1919.
Where: Newark, Delaware.
They were married:
Date: Sept. 20, 1920.
Place: Old Swede’s Episcopal Church, Wilmington, Del.
My father earned his living: Several jobs, but the one I remember was Continental Diamond Fiber Co., Newark, Delaware.
I Was Born
I was born: January 8, 1923.
Where: Lewes, Delaware.
Named: Elsie Elizabeth Lamplugh.
That name was chosen because: My mother had an aunt Elsie and an aunt Elizabeth (known as Aunt “Lizzie”). Cute, huh?
I weighed: average weight—probably 6 pounds.
I was told I resembled: My grandmother Knighton as I grew up.
Brothers’ and Sisters’ names: Gertrude, Anna Margaret, George William, Mary Katherine, & Robert Arthur.
As a Young Girl [See Part III]
My family lived: Newark, Delaware most of my life—moved there in 1934.
I went to school: Newark, Delaware from age 10.
As a student: I was average. No honor student—had to study.
My ambition was: to be a medical secretary, but I was not able to attend college after I graduated from high school.
At home I was expected to: help in the kitchen, clean up the house, do laundry, & iron my own clothes.
My parents were very strict about: my choice of friends, dating, had to be home at a certain time—or else!!
My father taught me to value: friends, money—and how to follow directions—and do as I was told.
My mother taught me to value: friends.
What I loved most about my father: his patience with a large family in a small house. He was a wonderful, understanding Dad.
What I loved most about my mother: her ability to get along with people—and the pride she had in her family.
My teenage years were: great. My parents were warm & understanding, and we all respected their wishes.
As a Girl “My Favorite. . .”
Song: “Begin the Beguine”
Movie: “Mrs. Miniver”
Actor: Walter Pidgeon
Actress: Greer Garson
Book: How to Win Friends and Influence People
Radio Program: “Sammy Kaye’s Orchestra”
Vacation spot: Beach
Flower: Roses & Lilacs
Sport: Roller skating
Food: Roast beef
Subject in school: Typing & shorthand
Friend: Betty Geesman & Doris Grundy
As a Young Woman [See Part IV]
I graduated from: Newark High School, June 12, 1940.
I worked at: at the Continental Diamond Fiber Co. for a couple of years & then worked for the Pennsylvania R.R.
On weekends, I: went to dances or roller skating.
I started to date at the age of: 17.
I met your grandfather at: his brother’s home. I worked with his sister-in-law at the fiber mill.
His full name: Benjamin Leroy Lamplugh.
His birthday: January 20, 1921.
Our first date was: to the movies.
His age when we met: 20.
He lived: was in the U.S. Army—at Ft. Meade, Md.
I lived: in Newark.
He earned his living: as a soldier during World War II and after that he became a carpenter.
I liked him because: he was a gentleman, very quiet—much like my father.
Grandfather said he liked me because: I was quiet—little did he know how much I would change.
When we dated we liked to go: to the movies—or just out walking—we had very little money.
[Note: Betts omitted answers to how long the “courtship” lasted; when they became engaged; and what Ben said when he proposed. What follows is the only question she chose to answer. For more on her omissions, go here in the “Betts” series.]
When I told my parents [about the engagement] they: thought we should wait till the war was over and we knew each other better.
My Wedding Day
Grandfather and I were married: January 12, 1943, at 7 P.M., in the home of Minister C. Nadal Jones, in Wilmington, Delaware.
I wore: a blue wool 2-piece dress.
We celebrated our wedding by: having dinner with my mother, sister-in-law Ethel and her fiancé, who were at our wedding.
[Note: Betts skipped the next two questions—“most memorable wedding gift” and “most vivid memory of my wedding day” but did answer the final question.]
After we were married we traveled to: could not go anywhere because Ben had to go back to his army post in Ft. Bragg, North Carolina.
My First Year of Marriage [See Part V]
When Grandfather and I were first married: I lived at home with my parents, since Ben was in the Army. Spent time with him at Fort Bragg.
We lived there for: about two months—then he went overseas.
My fondest memory of our first home is: It was in an Army town—Fayetteville, N.C.—an apartment. It was a small town—but lively. We had Army friends.
Grandfather’s job was: in the 82nd Airborne paratroops.
After we married: I tried to be a good wife—though we had very little time together the first couple of years [because Ben was in the Army, overseas, for much of that time].
As a wife, I tried to be: understanding of the kind of marriage we had—wartime marriages are difficult—need a lot of love & trust from both people. [For some indication of the difficulties in this particular wartime marriage, go here.]
End of Part IX
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For those interested in reading more of my reflections on history, here are links to my books on the subject: